Sanman

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Sep 1, 2000
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Dreaming of Margaritaville
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Hi all,

A quick question for those VA people around here that are working in mental health clinics. There is a tele-health position that is opening up in my VA that seems interesting to me. It moves into a straight mental health line and puts productivity pressure on me, but means a lot less commuting. Thoughts on moving into straight mental health? Anyone here have tele-health experience?

Also, given that I have only been in my current position for a year and there is significant interest from other staff as well, is it worth applying for and possibly burning up the good will I currently have in geriatrics if word gets around? I enjoy my current position, but the commuting wears on you in HBPC and I know I can't do this forever. However, this would be my first non- geriatrics position in years since getting my degree. Thanks is advance on your thoughts.
 

cara susanna

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Feb 10, 2008
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I did a telehealth rotation on internship at the VA and haaaated it. But that might have just been me.
 

NeuroLady

Gero Neuro Nerd
2+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2016
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Depends on your interest but there are so many other great gero positions in the VA that don't require frequent driving like HBPC - though they don't seem to pop up very often...?
 

Sanman

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There are definitely some good jobs in geriatrics, but none available near me at the moment and none coming down the pike as far as I know. These tele-mental health positions will be work from home and there will be a few openings coming up, so I am considering it for family/ lifestyle balance reasons. Not ideal for me professionally and I have a feeling that there will be some internal competition. However, having done my current job for a year and living the long commute, I doubt I'll be able to do this for more than a few years once my wife and I have kids (we are hoping to in the next couple of years). Decisions, decisions....
 
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NeuroLady

Gero Neuro Nerd
2+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2016
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There are definitely some good jobs in geriatrics, but none available near me at the moment and none coming down the pike as far as I know. These tele-mental health positions will be work from home and there will be a few openings coming up, so I am considering it for family/ lifestyle balance reasons. Not ideal for me professionally and I have a feeling that there will be some internal competition. However, having done my current job for a year and living the long commute, I doubt I'll be able to do this for more than a few years once my wife and I have kids (we are hoping to in the next couple of years). Decisions, decisions....
It's a tough call but not irreversible.
 

Sanman

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Are you dead set on staying in the VA? If not, and gero jobs in the community, closer to home?
I'm not dead-set on staying in the VA and there are many gero jobs in the community closer to home that always remain an option. I actually have several open offers related to my previous position. However, most of those are working for LTC/ALF facilities. In my state that means working in multiple facilities with travel due to the lack of large facilities. It also means no guarantee for where you will work due to significant competition between companies taking contracts from each other and local mergers/buyouts with the hospital system. Not something I want to wade into again so soon. If something in the community popped up that resembled a stable gig with a reasonable commute, I would consider it. However, those are rare positions. More likely would be my starting my own practice and signing some smaller contracts on my own. However, I am not quite where I want to be financially to take on those risks yet. In the future, I may well do that. There are plenty of local practices doing well that remain an option, but that means leaving geriatrics full-time. The general model near me is doing PP part-time and ALF/LTC work part-time near home for one of the established groups/ companies if you want to be in this kind of work.
 

Pragma

Neuropsychologist
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Dec 29, 2011
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There's a big push for increasing tele-health capability within the VA. I think they want most mental health providers to be tele-health capable in the coming years.
 

123EW

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Jan 23, 2012
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Your geriatric experience will always be valuable to VA positions even if you move to straight MH for a few years. Telehealth positions are not for everyone, but anecdotally, I'd say more wanted than HBPC positions. You could always apply and try it out for a year or so. If it is not to your liking, my guess is a HBPC/geriatric position would be waiting for you before long. Also, depending on your location, PC/MHI generally has a need for psychologists with an understanding of the needs of older adults.
 

PsychPhDStudent

7+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2009
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Hi all,

A quick question for those VA people around here that are working in mental health clinics. There is a tele-health position that is opening up in my VA that seems interesting to me. It moves into a straight mental health line and puts productivity pressure on me, but means a lot less commuting. Thoughts on moving into straight mental health? Anyone here have tele-health experience?

Also, given that I have only been in my current position for a year and there is significant interest from other staff as well, is it worth applying for and possibly burning up the good will I currently have in geriatrics if word gets around? I enjoy my current position, but the commuting wears on you in HBPC and I know I can't do this forever. However, this would be my first non- geriatrics position in years since getting my degree. Thanks is advance on your thoughts.
I don't do straight telemental health but I do some. I imagine this could vary by site, but productivity expectations are a little lower for telemental health positions. To my knowledge, none of ours are from home. Feel free to PM me with specific questions.
 

CompleteUnknown

2+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2016
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I've done telehealth therapy work before and it feels strange at first, but you would quickly get used to it in terms of building rapport, making well-time interventions, etc. In my experience, the initial "weirdness" of the telehealth therapy experience can even be used to join with the client and build rapport. For example: "Have you ever done this before? It's a bit weird, isn't it? I know, I felt that way too when I first started doing this. Let me know if you ever have trouble hearing me or seeing me over the feed."

It's pretty cool, especially if you're reaching under-served populations.
 
Feb 9, 2018
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I, also, looked into telehealth positions with the VA and none were from home. The provider used a specific room with specific equipment, and they mentioned some additional requirements to reduce liability. +pissed+

The ability to provide rural mental health in a way that meets the client's needs is outstanding, but it really does take some getting used to and there are aspects that will never be ideal.
 

Sanman

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15+ Year Member
Sep 1, 2000
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Thanks for the replies. This position is work from home due to the lack of office space anywhere at the moment. That is not to say the requirement does not change eventually if office space became free. That aspect could change my eventual interest in the position.